At 6 feet 9, West Springfield senior Lewis Djonkam does most of his damage in the paint.
During the dmvstream.com Nova Challenge, an event featuring some of the top senior basketball players in Northern Virginia competing in two all-star games, a 3-point shootout and a dunk contest, Djonkam showed fans the diversity of his talents.
Djonkam did “big man” things: he swatted shots, scored points in the paint and posted a double-digit rebound total. But he also showed off his shooting touch, knocking down multiple perimeter attempts, including a 3-pointer.
At the end of the day, Djonkam produced a double-double, threw down a dunk, earned team MVP honors and had a blast while doing it.
Playing for the Fairfax South All-Stars, Djonkam scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds during a 110-107 loss to the Prince William All-Stars on April 10 at Marshall High School.
DJONKAM, who is still weighing his college options, finished with four assists, two blocks and two steals and was named Fairfax South MVP.
“It was great,” Djonkam said. “Every kid on the court I love. I grew up with half the kids on the court. ... [It was my] last time playing with the kids. It was great. I loved it.”
Djonkam shot 6-for-12 from the floor, and made one of his two 3-point attempts.
“I’ve been working on that a lot,” Djonkam said about shooting 3-pointers. “When I came out today, I was like, ‘I’m going to show them what I worked on.’”
Wakefield’s Deng Nhial and T.C. Williams’ Jordan Jones each had 16 points for Fairfax South, and T.C. Williams’ Tavaris James finished with 14.
Spencer Askew, Djonkam’s teammate at West Springfield, scored 11 points and had three assists.
Woodson guards Matt Ayoub and Seamus Maloney each scored six points. Robinson’s Avi Silberman and Hayfield’s Romaine Oakley each had two points.
Later in the day, the Fairfax North All-Stars defeated the Loudoun County All-Stars 108-101.
Langley senior Nate Shafer scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked seven shots for the Fairfax North All-Stars.
All-star games are known for run-and-gun offense, but Shafer, the 2016 6A North region Defensive Player of the Year, made life difficult for Loudoun County players who tried to score in the paint.
“I can still apply some tactics that we use [during structured basketball] to an all-star game,” Shafer said. “I typically find a guy that can’t shoot as well so I can camp in the paint and that gives me more blocks and more contested shots and more rebounds, so that sort of pads my stats in an all-star game like this, which is fun.”
Shafer, who will play at Swarthmore College, said he enjoyed making defensive plays in an offensive environment. During one possession, Shafer swatted multiple Loudoun County shots.
“Those kinds of plays get the gym on their feet,” he said, “so I like to do that.”
Blake Francis, a member of the state champion Westfield Bulldogs, earned MVP honors for Fairfax North, finishing with 23 points, six rebounds and five assists. He knocked down a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, cutting the Fairfax North deficit to 64-50. Fairfax North outscored Loudoun County 58-37 in the second half.
Francis, who shot 8-for-17 from the floor and 5-for-12 from 3-point range, is still weighing his college options.
“It’s good experience,” Francis said, “going against the top talent in the Northern Virginia area.”
CENTREVILLE’S William Unterkofler scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds. He also won the dunk contest, earning a perfect score of 30 on his final attempt, when he jumped, brought the ball between his legs and threw it down with his right hand.
Unterkofler will attend Virginia Tech but doesn’t plan to play basketball. He said he could first dunk a basketball in the ninth grade.
“It was pretty cool,” said the 6-foot-5 Unterkofler. “I’ve wanted to be in a dunk contest for a long time because I practice dunking all the time and I never get to show it, so it’s really exciting to get to come out and do it.”
Fairfax High’s Alex McNaughton, who will play at Salisbury, scored 17 points for Fairfax North and shot 6-for-9 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from behind the arc. Fellow Rebel Manny Miller had six points and seven rebounds.